Avianca Brasil's landing and take-off rights at Congonhas airport in Sao Paulo have been shared among four airlines, three of them completely new to the airport, the national civil aviation authority ANAC has disclosed.

Manaus-based ATR turboprop operator MAP has obtained 12 daily slots at the congested downtown airport. The airline is currently specialised in operations within the Amazonas area, from bases in Manaus and Belem, and has not announced details of its plans for Sao Paulo, a region several thousand kilometres away.

Fellow ATR operator Passaredo has obtained 14 slots. The airline has its headquarters in Riberao Prieto in Sao Paulo state and operates already to the city of Sao Paulo, albeit to international airport Guarulhos.

Azul, Brazil's third-largest airline, has obtained 15 slots. At one point, Azul offered Avianca Brasil's bankruptcy administrator $145 million for the Congonhas slots plus some at a couple of less critically congested airports.

While the 15 slots are insufficient for Azul to challenge the current Latam-Gol duopoly on the Congonhas-Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont downtown-airport shuttle – Brazil's busiest route – a local source familiar with the situation points to a possible agreement with Passaredo, under which that carrier could operate shuttle flights for Azul.

Cessna 208B Grand Caravan operator Two Flex, which operates regional flights on behalf of Gol, has not been awarded any slots from the Avianca Brasil pool. However, ANAC has opened the door to operation of 14 daily flights from Congonhas's "auxiliary runway, pending authorisation from the air navigation management centre CGNA".

These assignations are in line with ANAC's previously declared objective to "prioritise the access of new and regional operators to Congonhas" and other slot-controlled airports.

Although the slots have been awarded for the IATA winter season beginning in late October, the airlines will be allowed to start operations immediately in order to compensate the loss of Avianca Brasil's operations "as soon as possible".

MAP and Passaredo must still go through a specific certification process required to authorise their operations at Congonhas.

Source: Cirium Dashboard